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 Will Gorlitz  (1952 - )

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Lived/Active: Ontario/Manitoba / Canada/Argentina      Known for: painting, sdrawing, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Will Gorlitz BFA, RCA (1952)

A prominent Canadian painter, draftsman and educator, Will Gorlitz was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina; brought up, from the age of six, in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and currently lives and works in Guelph, Ontario. Several major Canadian museums collect his paintings and they have been included in numerous exhibitions at important public venues such as the Art Gallery of Ontario and the National Gallery of Canada.

Gorlitz’s mediums include oil, pastel, ink, mixed mediums, lithography, and painting/installation. His subjects include, portraits, figures, still life, landscape, trees, animals, astronomical phenomena, allegory*, metaphor and social commentary. His primary styles are Realism*, Surrealism* and Conceptual Art*. AskART images have some excellent illustrations of his work. However, it should be noted that, many of his paintings may have originally been parts of a larger painting/installation and when viewed alone may tell a different story than when they were first exhibited in a gallery. For example Untitled (Leaves) may, at first, simply look like leaves floating in a pool of water, but Gorlitz has done numerous works like it where the seemingly random arrangement of leaves form letters or numbers, spelling out a message, which only becomes apparent when the full series of paintings is installed on a gallery wall.

Gorlitz’s art education includes studies at the University of Manitoba – School of Art, Winnipeg, Manitoba (1972 – 1975) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1977). Following his studies, he worked as a graphic artist/illustrator for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before transitioning into teaching full time.

His teaching career includes the Dundas Valley School of Art, Dundas, Ontario (1987); the Banff School of Fine Arts*, Banff, Alberta (1988); University of Victoria, B.C. (1993); University of Lethbridge, Alberta (1996); Ontario College of Art*, Toronto (1997); and the University of Waterloo, Ontario (1999 – 2001). Since 2001 he has been a professor of fine arts at the University of Guelph, Ontario.

His works were exhibited in the “Sâo Paulo Bienal”, Sâo Paulo, Brazil (1985); the “Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1989); and “Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012”, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2012 – 2013). They were also included in “The Allegorical Image”, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario (1985); “Perspective 86”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1986); “Written Images”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1987); “Re-imagining Modernism”, MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, Ontario (1999); “The Single Tree”, Museum London, London, Ontario (2000); “Painters 15”, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2002) and Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2003); “Identities: Canadian Portraits”, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario (2004); “From New Image to New Wave”, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax (2005); and in “The Big Gift: Calgary Celebrates Art from Canadians”, Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta (2008).

The public venues for his solo exhibitions include the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1986); 49th Parallel, Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, New York City (1987); Concordia University Art Gallery, Montreal, Quebec (1988); Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba (1988 and 2007); Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (1988); McIntosh Gallery, London, Ontario (1991); Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario (1991); Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France (1991); Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Kitchener, Ontario (2009); Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax (2009); and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2010).

His works have also been included in solo and group exhibitions at prominent commercial galleries such as Galerie René Blouin, Montreal; Birch Libralato Gallery, Toronto; Sable-Castelli Gallery, Toronto; Michael Gibson Gallery, London; Harbinger Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario; Oakville Galleries, Oakville, Ontario; Plug In Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba; Trépanier Baer Gallery, Calgary, Alberta; Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.; Elissa Cristall Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.; Hallwalls, Buffalo, New York; Galerie Walcheturm, Binz 39, Zurich, Switzerland; and Aorta, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, Gorlitz’s  works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Museum London (Ontario), Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery (Owen Sound, Ontario), University of Guelph Art Gallery (Ontario), and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba).

His honors and awards include twelve Canada Council* grants (1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007), four Ontario Arts Council Visual Arts Grants (1983, 1987, 1990 and 1995), and election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (2005).
Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 (2012), by Jonathan Shaughnessy (see AskART book references)

The Visual Arts in Canada: The Twentieth Century (2010), by Brian Foss, Anne Whitelaw, Sandra Paikowsky (see AskART book references)

Will Gorlitz: nowhere if not here (2009), by Bruce W. Ferguson, et al (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century (1999), by Joan Murray (see AskART book references)

Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art  (1989), by Diana Nemiroff; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (186 pgs., some color)

Cineplex Odeon: The First Ten Years (1989), by David Burnett (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

National Gallery of Canada

University of Guelph

Art Gallery of Ontario

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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